by Rachel Ogbu//
London-born star football player, Ola Aina recently made news when he snubbed England and his club, Chelsea to play for Nigeria Super Eagles instead. Considering Nigeria’s history in athlete’s welfare, it was a bold and patriotic move for the 20-year-old right back defender.
According to reports, Aina had been at Chelsea since he was 10-years-old, had served England as a key player at every youth level under-16, u-17, u-18, u-19 up to U20s, and seven months ago, he played sub at his first Premier League game in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Leicester.
Now playing for his motherland (he actually obtained a Nigerian passport to make the switch from England to Nigeria), Aina celebrated in Paris following Super Eagles 3-0 win in the friendly game against Togo on Thursday.
Fellow international football stars Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi did the same thing when they chose to play for Nigeria instead of their UK clubs Chelsea and Arsenal respectively. However, The UK Daily Star insists Aina’s case is different saying “Moses and Iwobi were both born in Nigeria, whereas he [Aina] was born in Southwark.”
Chelsea coach Antonio Conte has always been impressed with his skills: “Aina is showing the Academy is a good school and it is very important for the club. It’s a new source,” the club tweeted.
“I felt like all the hard work over the years had finally paid off. I was really excited on the day and I enjoyed it. I’ve grown up watching all of the different Chelsea teams through the years and I love the club, so it was a special feeling.”
“I’m happy with how I performed. I took a knock early in the game but it was my debut so I really didn’t want to come off. I felt I did okay. Playing alongside Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta was good because it made me feel part of the fold. With their experience they helped me a lot and they were talking to me throughout the whole game.”
Ola Aina’s market value as at February 2017 is £850k.